The Search For The Next AD: Part I

Posted on Posted in Michigan Football

The search for the next Michigan athletic director hasn’t officially started, but it’s never too early to look at the candidates. University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel has stated that he’s looking for “excellence” and that he wants to “get someone who is not only technically adept but can ensure that the program has financial and academic integrity.” We’ve already heard a few names in regards to the position. Schlissel has denied speaking to any of these guys, but that won’t stop us from looking at them. Join us as we profile the top candidates to become Michigan’s next athletic director.

What makes a good athletic director? A good athletic director knows how to work with people, knows how to fundraise and knows how to build successful programs. There are many good candidates out there for Michigan to choose from who fit that description. Who is the best candidate of the top choices out there? You decide.

Why not start with the man who is currently keeping the seat warm? Michigan has had a recent history of hiring athletic directors permanently from an interim basis and hiring athletic directors with no athletic administration experience. Two men who come to mind are Bill Martin and Dave Brandon. Although Hackett may not be a choice that many Michigan fans want, the fact is that he still may be a candidate for the permanent job. We’ll kick off this series with his profile.


Jim Hackett


University of Michigan Interim Director of Athletics

Years active at current position:



Graduated from the University of Michigan in 1977.


Hackett has no athletic administration experience. He is now serving as the interim AD. Before that he served as the CEO of Steelcase Inc, before retiring earlier this year.

Athletic success:

None as an AD.

Academic success:

None as an AD.


Hackett has a more favorable personality than Brandon did. I’m sure he would have no problem fundraising. He has a lot of experience in the business world. That should equate to financial success in collegiate athletics, like it did with Brandon. Furthermore, I don’t see Hackett having a problem fundraising, especially if he makes a good coaching hire.

Fixing facilities:

No experience.


It should be noted that Schlissel is very high on Hackett. In his statement, he said, “Jim Hackett is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity and a devoted member of our Michigan community. I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan’s next permanent athletic director.” Hackett is currently getting paid a $600,000 yearly salary and will be on as interim AD until the president decides to give him the job permanently or to move forward with another candidate.

Other Ventures:

Hackett currently sits on the board of advisors for U-M’s Gerald R Ford school of public policy and the Life Sciences institute.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow, where we will profile Brad Bates.

Fatima Harajli